Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Post Apocalyptic Vehicles For Your Old School Post Apocalyptic Game

Since "The Timeline" was fixed by Mr.McFly none of us get antigavity boards! Way to go Marty!
The world of tomorrow always seems to look glossy & slick. The pulps of yesteryear seemed to give us incredibly busy & interesting lives. Yet the more that times seems to roll on the more it began to look like the future of some alternative universe where the bombs had already dropped. Within games like Mutant Future, Gamma World, & others the relics of this semi forgotten by gone age were rusting in some corner of the world.
 Yet one area that seems neglected & always gets put off to one side is how to get from HERE to THERE! The idea of transportation as the focus for an adventure is seldom used. These relics are often the background material of an adventure but seldom the reason for it.
Below are vehicles of every type, description, style that can be put to a wide variety of use. Imagine a community that lives on  the German version of water/highway transport system, more focused on personal transport. But can't you just see this type of community turning to trade or piracy get by? Now imagine what happens when a part or component breaks down on one of these. There's an adventure into itself right there. 

Artificial Intelligence Flying Saucer Buses are prefect for jaded group of players. A transport artifact trap? Has this been done before? Yes it worked for Stephen King in the Post Apocalypse world of the Dark Tower & it can work for you! 
Speeder Bikes been done to death because of Star Wars & Return of the Jedi? The Weird looking  Modern Mechanix sphere-wheeled vehicles are just the ticket then. Quick, fast, & deadly! The perfect foil for those "Devil may care types" of PCs.
 Need a memorable location that's also a relic of a by gone age that never was? 
"Trade you trouble for a bubble"?! A bubble city! This image will stay with the players for ages to come! The perfect fit for a Mutant Future alternative 40s or 50s that never were. 

The selection of  aerocars is perfect as a relic for a group of player characters have the guys pile in & go off to adventure! This formula worked for the "Logan's Run" television show & it can work for you! 
Some items & locations should be very memorable & unique. How about staging a treasure hunt aboard this 
Soviet-dreamed Giant Catamaran - Supertanker - Icebreaker Hybrid!
   There's a resource that seldom gets mentioned & that's the ground breaking work of Scott Hoover. On of his projects was called the Scavengers guide  if you've never seen it then by gosh I suggest you down load it. What is it? 
A comprehensive compilation of gear and items found in many scattered resources for GW. This is a tremendous resource for fans and GM's alike. THIS IS A MUST HAVE, DOWNLOAD NOW!! 114 pages, 4mb zipped and 5.4 unzipped .pdf
You can download it Here
I'll be using some of the vehicle guidelines given it to flesh out things. Its a must have though. While your over at the post apocalyptic forge take a look around pick up some other stuff. Let them folks know that  Needles sent ya. 

The original article can be found Here

Jetsons will be shocked to see this

Among the fascinating concepts that appeared in the 1940s-60s magazines are some pretty good ones that could even prompt interest in modern designers and manufacturers. Other ideas, on the contrary, did not age well and may appear nuttier than a drunk hamster on a treadmill. 

Regardless of their potential and practicality, these glorious glimpses into transportation's elusive future can speak to us on some deep level - whispering perhaps to forsake that lumbering sport-utility for a slim and mean aerocar, which will transport us in a blink of an eye to... alas, the same old strip mall for groceries. 

Picked mostly from little-known Eastern Bloc publications, most of the concepts shown here are the product of socialist and communist research, often as unrealistic, as their leader's plans for global utopia.

Soviet-dreamed Giant Catamaran - Supertanker - Icebreaker Hybrid:
(with parts of some nuclear submarine thrown in for good measure)

(art by TM, Russia 1974)

Fantastic Avionics

Russian concept of the rotor-plane, 1960:

Soviets also proposed to stick together a bunch of big airplanes to make a REALLY huge one. Kind of like a Lego dream come true:

(art by TM, Russia 1966)

This American concept shows the ultimate helicopter:
(at least the largest we've seen drawn on paper)

(art by Radebaugh)

An interesting helicopter also can be found inside this issue of Startling Stories, 1940:

Ekranoplans & Hydrofoils

Ahhh... How can we not mention the "wing-in-ground-effect" liners? Russia was crazy about ekranoplans and hydrofoils for some time. Here is an ultimate replacement for a passenger airliner:
"The Glider" super hydrofoil, 1960

and a huge passenger/cargo ekranoplan:
(click to enlarge)

(art by TM, Russia 1965)

German version of water/highway transport system, more focused on personal transport:

(image credit:

Russian Spiral Vehicle

This is a vehicle that literally "screws around a lot" to get somewhere. Never mind the possibility of it being built (there was actually some talk about prototypes spotted in the Russian Army), the vehicle like this would need a lot of "personal space" while it moves. Nobody wants to end up wrapped around the spirals like some kind of spaghetti.

(art by TM, Russia 1961)

Spirals/ screws were popular in the US, too. Witness "The Sea Slug" -

Russian climbing robot personal vehicle. Good to climb the walls of your office building when late for work:

(art by TM, Russia 1970)

American Dream produced some dreamy vehicles

America saw a lot of big and powerful cars in the 50s-60s (see some of them here). But first, American Transportation Dream required a wide system of interstates across the country. Here is a vision of the robotic highway-making machine, which would only require a single operator (from 1943):

(images credit: Transportation Futuristics)

Beautiful supertruck, imagined by the US Royal Tires:
(I had a toy like this once)

(image credit:

Strangely sinister-looking atomic truck. Raw Nuclear Power!

Artists dreamed of futuristic cars, hurtling down the highway:

(art by Adragna for Amazing, Sept 1964)

(art by Devon Francis, The New York Times Magazine, 1959)

Meet the Jetsons! Futuristic version of "yabba-dabba-doo" in the sky:

(image credit: Plan59)

This aerocar concept from 1967 looks just like my old trusty barbeque in the backyard, complete with the burners.

(art by Popular Science, July 1957)

Note the bottom vehicle in this MAI Russian concept line-up from 1955. Seems like some ideas can float in the air... and across the ocean:

Flying car, according to the Soviet designers, 1967:

and American Modern Mechanix version, much earlier:

(image credit:

(art by Radebaugh)

Bizarre Offerings

True Rollerball! "Trade you trouble for a bubble"?!
(gets my vote for the dumbest ad one-liner):

(image credit: David Zondy)

Octagonal Wheeled Watercraft from 1935 issue of Popular Science:

Strange wheel placement:

(image credit: Plan59)

Goofy-looking Modern Mechanix sphere-wheeled vehicles:

Huge "navi-trucks" will traverse the Earth, according to this 1933 vision. They will be able to penetrate the hardest terrain - the ultimate off-road! And a biggest SUV to boot.

Flying saucers continue to pop up in the minds of designers, bringing with them little green ideas. This is a "Flying Saucer Bus":

(art by Science and Mechanics, December 1950)

Monorail Dreams

In some extreme cases, we'd rather say - "monorail hallucinations"... A concept proposed by Popular Science magazine for the World's Fair in 1939:
(cars, passengers all cozy up together inside a cage in the sky)

This (almost) got made: (almost) realistic proposal for rapid transit in Washington, D.C. by D.C. Transit System, Inc., 1959:

Elements of "shark fin" car design can be traced in this 1962 Goodell Monorail:

This monorail is... unhappy:

(art by Popular Science, July 1952)

Russian version, 1973:

Another Russian concept: "Monorail SuperTrain". Double size everything:

Click to enlarge:

(art by TM, Russia 1974)

German version of a similar Super-Train:

(image credit:

Urban tube train system. Looks good, but if it gets too complex, the maze of tunnels may suddenly snap into the 4th dimension. Read A. J. Deutsch's story "A Subway Called Moebius", where "the system becomes so tangled that it turns into a Moebius strip, and trains start to disappear": 

Not a monorail, but a super-size train nevertheless:

(image credit:

Bohn Designs from 1947

Finally, a series of classic concept transportation images from Bohn - aluminum & brass company from Michigan.

(image credit: plan59)

Yet nothing beats this steampunk "Flying Steam Liner". It can single-handedly cause a global warming, we're sure:

(art by Michal Kwolek)


  1. Great pics! Those soviet designs are insane, and perfect for a certain sort of sci-fi. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hey there welcome aboard Trollsmyth! Thanks for commenting & there will be more stuff to come! Stay tuned! Love your blog BTW. The Genie Corsairs was inspired!
    Very nice stuff... There's more to come


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